We’re stuck with the curse of previous guy and the corruption of GOP trumpism, including Lindsey Graham carrying Russian water. The Daily Beast explains why a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be mostly Trump’s fault:
As Russian President Vladimir Putin lays the groundwork for an invasion of Ukraine, Republicans in Congress have been laying the groundwork to blame President Joe Biden for failing to prevent an attack.
But it’s former President Donald Trump, recently retired military officials and diplomats told The Daily Beast, who may bear more responsibility for the looming crisis with Russia than Biden.
Trump, whose relationship with Russia has been famously complicated, pushed back on providing aid to Ukraine in 2017. Trump was reportedly reluctant to provide security aid, in part, because he wanted Ukraine to pay the United States back. That year, Putin made his case to Trump during a 2017 meeting that Russia had sovereignty claims over Ukraine.
Trump has also parroted and played into Putin’s rhetorical arguments on territorial expansion. Trump told world leaders during a private dinner in 2018 that Crimea—the peninsula of land in the Black Sea between Russia and Ukraine that Russia annexed by force in 2014—actually did belong to Russia because everyone there speaks Russian.
In a more hard power sense, Trump also withheld military aid to Ukraine in 2019, conditioning the aid on a political “favor.”
In withholding the funds, which had been appropriated by Congress for security assistance to Ukraine, the Trump administration violated the law, the Government Accountability Office
During the infamous July 2019 phone call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump, Zelensky was still asking for Javelin anti-tank weapons. And while Trump held the security aid back, Ukraine became more susceptible. Ukraine was deprived of weapons, artillery, training, and advisers, leaving it weak and in the lurch. Ukrainian soldiers eventually began resorting to stuffing straw in empty uniforms and carrying around logs to make it seem like they had anti-tank missiles on their shoulders, The New York Times reported in 2019.
Even when Trump eventually relented and did provide aid, he made it a condition that the equipment not be used for war.
The delay in supplying Ukraine with top military equipment—as well as Trump’s overall dismissiveness of the security realities on the ground in Ukraine—has had lasting consequences, strengthening the Kremlin’s resolve to take further action in Ukraine today, according to Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe.
”He absolutely did not appreciate and understand the significance of what was happening,” Hodges said of Trump. “And that’s what I think was most valuable to the Kremlin is that they see the American government didn’t appreciate or understand or frankly even care that much in that administration what was going on.”
Hodges told The Daily Beast that Trump’s disregard emboldened Putin and caused damage that’s now ratcheting tensions up.
While the political blowback of any bloodshed or catastrophe in Ukraine in the coming weeks will no doubt fall on Biden—tanking his approval ratings further just as the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan did—it is the lingering rot from the Trump administration that created much of the conditions ripe for an attack.
Putin recognizes strength and he can smell Joe Biden’s weakness a mile away. Enter former President Donald Trump who sent a warning to Vladimir Putin not to invade via GOP Senator Lindsey Graham.
“He said Putin is realizing that Biden’s weak, but he doesn’t realize that Biden won’t be around in 2024. So President Trump said today if they invade Ukraine, the Russians, it will make it impossible for any future president to have a normal relationship with Russia.” Graham said this “was a pretty damn wise observation.”
Britain says it has uncovered a Kremlin plot to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a pro-Russian regime in Kyiv.
The alleged plot involves several top officials who served under former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, a Moscow-backed politician who was deposed by a pro-Western revolution in 2014. The Kremlin has always referred to the events of 2014 as a Western-backed coup d’état, pointing to diplomatic and small-scale financial support that Western embassies in Kyiv gave to non-governmental organizations involved in the uprising.
Meanwhile, Russia continues to gather an invasion-sized force on three sides of Ukraine. It was unclear from the statement, released Saturday by Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), whether the office believes the Kremlin plans to install the government after invading and occupying Ukraine, or whether a coup attempt is seen as an alternative to large-scale Russian military action.
“We have information that indicates the Russian government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine,” the FCDO statement reads, without naming the source of the information. The statement says Yevhen Murayev, a former pro-Russian MP from Mr. Yanukovych’s disbanded Party of Regions, “is being considered as a potential candidate” by Russian intelligence services to lead the Moscow-backed regime.
“The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says in the statement. “Russia must de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy. As the UK and our partners have said repeatedly, any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with severe costs.”
The statement also names four other Yanukovych-era officials as “maintaining links” with “Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine.” The four are former prime minister Mykola Azarov; former deputy prime minister Serhiy Arbuzov; Mr. Yanukovych’s former chief of staff, Andriy Kluyev; and the former deputy head of Ukraine’s national security council, Vladimir Sivkovich.
Mr. Sivkovich was one of four Ukrainian citizens targeted for new U.S. sanctions announced on Thursday. A statement from the U.S. Treasury – which also named former pro-Russian MPs Taras Kozak, Oleh Voloshyn and Volodymyr Oliynyk – said the four were working with Russia’s FSB security service to prepare “to take over the government of Ukraine and to control Ukraine’s critical infrastructure with an occupying Russian force.”